Moist and melt-in-your mouth vegan apple tea cake with a delectable pecan crumble. Can be made gluten free, nut free and refined sugar free!
Apples are one of my favourite snacking fruits of all time. They are widely accessible, affordable, crunchy and don’t stain my teeth (or breath) like some of the other fruits I love (haha)! I’ve always found apples to be consistently sweet unlike some other fruits where I occasionally come across sour batches. Talk about trust issues!
I also love how apples are so versatile. They are crunchy when fresh and can be super soft when baked or cooked!
This is my favourite non-chocolate baked cake in my blog! Biting into a piece is like a warm hug from your inside.
Ingredients for making this vegan apple cake
Everyone should have a delicious apple cake recipe up their sleeve. I chose common pantry staples to make the cake including:
- Plain or all-purpose flour
- Coconut sugar or brown sugar or cane sugar
- Plant-based milk. I use almond, coconut and soy and they all work well.
- One apple, grated coarsely or chopped finely
- Liquid vegetable oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed
- Apple cider vinegar, which curdles the milk and tenderises the flours in the cake
- Baking powder
- Cinnamon and salt
Making the cake batter is pretty straight forward. Simply:
- Mix all the dry ingredients until combined
- Add all the wet ingredients and mix until it forms a thick batter
My top tip for making a FLUFFY vegan apple cake
I’ve experimented with soo different flours, sugars, apples and fats. To make a delicious and fluffy apple cake, my top tips are:
- Use plain flour as it’s the lightest of all flours and doesn’t weigh down a cake.
- If you need a gluten free apple cake, I strongly recommend using almond meal and fine white rice flour. I’ve tested soooo many different combinations of gluten free flours (including using pre-made blends) and this is my favourite combination. Almond meal lends moisture whereas fine white rice flour is super light and helps create a fluffy cake.
- Use coconut sugar as it has less moisture than brown sugar (makes the cake fluffier) yet imparts a beautiful caramel flavour unlike white sugar.
- Grate your apple COARSELY, not finely. A finely grated apple will make your cake dense. See the process pictures above for a visual guide.
This isn’t a recipe which is sub-par quality when it’s gluten-free. I first tested this cake using gluten-free flours then substituted it with plain / all-purpose flour to see if it was possible. You won’t be able to tell much difference between the regular and gluten-free versions!
Can I substitute any of the ingredients?
If you MUST substitute any of the ingredients, here are some options which I (or my readers) have tried and work decently:
- Replace plain flour with spelt flour or wholemeal plain flour. I personally love the latter two flours but they always make a cake slightly more dense.
- Replace the liquid oil for melted butter
- Sub pecans with walnuts for the crumble top
- Use regular sugar instead of coconut sugar. Regular sugar will create a cake lighter in colour and your cake will have no (or less of a) caramel profile.
How to make a crumble without butter
Instead of butter, I relied on the stickiness of a liquid sweetener to make the crumble ingredients stick together. It makes a slightly chewier crumble but I love it!
I’ve tried rice malt syrup and maple syrup for the crumble and they both work well. I’m sure you could use coconut nectar or other liquid sweeteners.
Assembling the vegan apple crumble cake
There are no rules to assembling the cake. I was inspired by the German Apple Cake Apfelkuchen, such as this one, which often has apple slices baked into the top of a cake. I added an extra dose of YUM by making a pecan crumble, because I just loooove crunchy things!
Even though there are no rules, I’ll explain how I assembled mine. It’s EASY!
Since it’s a thick batter, I scooped/poured it into a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin and smoothed the top using a spatula.
Next, I arranged thinly sliced apples in fan shapes on top of the cake. Use your imagination and creativity!
Wet your hands with water then use your hands to scatter the crumble on the cake. The crumble is quite sticky and I’d highly recommend seperating the big lumps as much as possible. Otherwise the crumble will bake into a weird mass of crunchy stickiness.
With a sprinkling of powdered sugar, this cake is beautifully rustic and perfect for sharing with guests or bringing to a potluck!
I mean, just look at that crumb of this vegan apple cake! It will seriously melt in your mouth. And the apple cinnamon combination is divine!
Check out my other vegan apple recipes:
Or here are some other cozy vegan desserts:
- Vegan Pumpkin Chai Donuts
- Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Bundt Cake
- Chai and pumpkin (almost) raw cheesecake
Apple Crumble Tea Cake
- 1 (~180g) medium-sized apple, grated coarsely not finely
- 1 cup (250mL) plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut,
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) light-tasting vegetable oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (50g) pecans
- 1/3 cup (55g) plain or all-purpose flour, or white rice flour for gluten free
- 3 tbsp (75 mL) any liquid sweetener, such as rice malt syrup or maple syrup
- 1 (180g) medium-size apple, core-removed, quartered and thinly sliced
- Icing sugar, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tray with baking paper.
- To make the cake: Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix until there are no lumps. Add all of the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin. Flatten the top with a spatula
- To prepare the crumble topping: In a medium bowl, combine all the crumble ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Arrange the thinly sliced apple on the top of the cake in 'fan' shapes or as desired. Wet your hands and scatter the crumble in the gaps on top of the cake.
- Bake the cake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer can be inserted into the middle and there is no wet batter on it. The cake is very moist and there might be some crumbs on the skewer which is fine. If the cake is browning too quickly at any point, cover it with an oven-safe plate or aluminium foil.
- Allow the cake to rest in the cake tin for at least 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin and dust with powered sugar if desired. Serve and enjoy!
- The cake can be kept at room temperature for 1 day or in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.